The media frenzy surrounding Gabby Douglas‘ hair has become one of the most-cited examples of how the media got female athletes wrong in this year’s Olympics. But the story hasn’t blown over: Daily Beast announced today that the 16-year-old gymnast will be seeing Angelina Jolie‘s hairstylist, Ted Gibson…but even he agrees that the whole thing is fairly ridiculous.
If you’re not familiar, Douglas became the first African American to win the all-around title in the Olympics, and he was also part of the “fierce five” who won gold for the U.S. team in gymnastics. But despite her huge wins in the games, the 16-year-old’s hair was the subject of huge debate on Twitter (and eventually in the media) for being unkempt.
Now it appears that her marketing team is responding to the issue by recruiting Gibson, whose L.A. salon sees plenty of celebrities beyond Jolie–and charges $950 for a haircut.
Pretty much everyone has agreed that critics calling out Douglas’s flyaways were ridiculous, and disrespectful to the young athlete’s athletic accomplishments. And, despite his excitement over becoming Gabby’s hair guru, even Gibson admitted that the Daily Beast that the focus on her hair is out of line:
“I couldn’t believe it and still can’t,’’ says Gibson. “You have this young girl doing amazing things, and the conversation becomes about her hair? It was ridiculous and shameful.”
Of course, he also told the Beast that he thinks hair is an important part of women’s confidence, and thinks that the media’s focus on her looks was partly to blame for Douglas’ declining performance throughout the games–he is a hairstylist, after all. We’re not totally on board with the idea that hair can make or break your performance, but at least Gibson seems to understand that he’s dealing with a very young athlete, not another Angelina Jolie:
It’s tricky because Gabby is 16 and I don’t want to do anything to make her look 25 years old. Together with her vision, I hope we can create something that’s easy and looks great no matter what she’s doing or where she is. I hope to create something that makes her feel good about herself as well. That’s so important and a big part of what I do for all the women I work with.
We don’t really have a problem with using hair or makeup to feel good about yourself, but we still think it’s sad that a female athlete can’t wear a ponytail while she’s competing without getting heat. Here’s hoping this is the last we hear about Gabby’s hair.